QUEENSLAND captain Cameron Smith is hopeful a strong Melbourne flavour can deliver the Maroons a historic victory in Wednesday night’s State of Origin decider.
With Origin debutant Cameron Munster named at five-eighth, Storm is responsible for the entire Maroons spine for the blockbuster at Suncorp Stadium.
Will Chambers and Tim Glasby round out the Storm contingent with Felise Kaufusi 18th man.
The decider could double as an Origin finale for the Storm ‘Big Three’ with Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater yet to declare their intentions for next year.
Smith played a pivotal role in Munster being named at five-eighth, replacing Johnathan Thurston (shoulder), who suffered a season-ending injury in Origin II.
Maroons coach Kevin Walters finalised the selection last week after speaking with senior players.
“I just said, my thoughts would be given it’s Cameron’s first game, it’s a big occasion, it’s a decider, I’d slot him straight into six,” Smith told the Herald Sun.
“It’s where he’s been playing alongside myself and Cooper and Billy all season and it’s where he’s going to feel most comfortable and in turn I think we’d probably feel the same.
“It makes life easier, well personally, for every one of the Storm players but I think it helps the (Queensland) team as well … given that we’ve got a strong club combination we can bring it into this team and hopefully it brings a positive result for the Maroons.”
Smith said Munster had settled into camp nicely, despite not being as “chirpy” as usual.
Cronk is expected to do the lion's share of the field kicking — in the absence of Thurston — while Smith will step in for the conversions.
Walters insisted fullback Slater will be at his best on Wednesday night. Slater suffered an ankle injury at training on Sunday and was given limited duties at Queensland’s final training session on Tuesday.
The Maroons broke tradition and warmed up inside the Suncorp Stadium dressing rooms before the session.
When they finally emerged, media was given just a few minutes of vision before being told to leave.
Slater moved freely and will play his 29th Origin.
“He’s fine, he’s going to train, limited albeit, but we’re expecting him to play,” Walters said. “He’s got a few things to do to give himself that confidence he needs.